This eclectic collection of fiction and non-fiction titles was selected by members of the Arroyo Book Club, a reading group at the Arroyo Seco branch library.
What was America like before Columbus? In this book Mann explores that question surveying the current state of archeology to paint a picture different from the one you read in your school history book. A slow but rewarding read.
The graphic novel credited with revolutionizing not only Batman, but all superhero comics. Miller takes a look at a Batman of the future, an old man who finds his world has passed him by, but fights on regardless. A biting, violent, disjointed take on Batman which demonstrates how a graphic novel can be as entertaining as any straight-up novel. Not a story for everyone, but an important work of comic history.
This seductively wordy novel touches on the tragedy of both WWII and the Vietnam War, while bringing to life a wonderful set of characters.
This book provides a look at the way aging and death is handled in our society, with the goal of ferreting out the practices that keep people happier and make dying more in line with what the dying person wants.
Coates examines race and racism in America, both past and present, through the lens of his own full-life experience, in this open letter to his son.
Young Anthony Márez tells the tale of his boyhood, his friends, his religious stirrings, the events of his small community, and the wisdom of Ultima, a curandera who became his teacher, in this lyrical novel.
Details the experiences of Oscar and his family and friends in New Jersey and the Dominican Republic, exposing you to a rich mix of the cultures in both locations.
Though both of Yaas' Iranian parents are Jewish, her father's upper class family is contemptuous of her mother, who comes from an impoverished community of South Tehran. But the real challenge to her parents' marriage is her father's love for his beautiful Muslim mistress. Hoping to spare her daughter the misery she endures, Yaas' mother expects her daughter to excel academically, but something prevents Yaas from grasping the basics of learning.
Pregnant and abandoned in Chile by her lover who is lured by the California gold rush, sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Sommers heads to San Francisco herself. Disguised as a boy, she spends four years searching for the man she thought she loved, all the while being guided and cared for by Tao Chi-en, a Chinese healer.This is a sweeping historical novel that follows the adventures of its heroine from her childhood in Chile to the gold fields of California as she searches for her first love.
The essays in this book explore concepts from astronomy and astrophysics in an entertaining and informative style which make the subjects understandable for everyone. Pick it up to recapture some of the childhood awe you experienced when seeing the night sky, or at least to learn the science behind the awe.
This grim book explores the lives of a man and his daughter and the myriad meanings of disgrace in South Africa. It is a challenging book that lovers of literature will find rewarding.
Can an ordinary citizen successfully fight against a repressive regime? In this grim but rewarding book we follow a pair of such citizens in WWII Germany.
Firoozeh Dumas uses humor to leaven this memoir of her family’s immigrant experience in America.
Perhaps the most famous of the current crop of Scandinavian psychological thrillers, this is the first of three novels pairing misunderstood genius Lisbeth Salander and determined journalist Mikael Blomkvist as they encounter violence and corruption to get to the bottom of a long-ago disappearance.
In 1962, three Mississippi women—two black maids and a young white woman from a privileged family with dreams of becoming a writer—fight back against the established racism of the South by publishing a tell-all book about the lives of black maids in their town. A firestorm erupts.
Pi Patel, the teenage son of a zookeeper, emigrates with his family from India to America aboard a cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes. The ship sinks and Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat with a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Pi’s fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with the tiger for 227 days lost at sea.
This richly detailed historical novel explores British naval life in the Napoleonic Era. The first of a 20-volume series, this book introduces the principal characters and paints a fascinating picture.
Try the classic tale of obsession and all things whale. It is both interesting and informative and, of course, a requirement if you wish to seem well-read.
In this engaging memoir, explore one woman’s life and learn how she overcame barriers of poverty, race, and illness to achieve great success.
In this book Jill Bolte Taylor tells us the tale of the stroke she suffered when she was thirty-seven-years old, and what she learned from the stroke and the recovery process. The author presents an interesting reflection on our relation to and with our brains.
Born in Boston soon after his parents arrive from Calcutta, Gogul Ganguli grows up embracing American ways that are an affront to his family’s Bengali heritage. He even legally changes his given name, which his father had chosen to honor a Russian writer he credits with saving his life.The book is beautifully descriptive, capturing 30 years in brief, relevant snippets.
This excellent series of what are essentially short stories, from a number of viewpoints, combine to give us a picture of a very human woman.
A WWII nurse unexpectedly finds herself in Scotland at the time of the Jacobite uprising. Trapped in the past she has one adventure after another and falls in love. Perfect for fans of historical fiction who like action and can get behind a bit of a romance
Explore questions of justice, violence, and the mob in this dissection of a lynching set in 19th century Nevada.
Winchester brings us a tale of the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary that includes both learned men and mad men, and gives us an interesting take on what was (and remains today) an enormous undertaking.
This book, which became a movie, began as a series of newspaper articles about a Juilliard-trained, mentally ill homeless man in downtown Los Angeles. It touches on many issues prevalent in modern society from mental illness to homelessness to the power of music, and friendship to the (potential) fate of newspapers in our Internet world.
A man investigates the death of an acquaintance, and in the process explores the experiences of a generation of Colombians impacted by Escobar and the drug trade.
Here you will find the life story of a man who was born in Burundi, survived the genocide that occurred there, came to America where he went from homelessness in NYC to medical school, and eventually returned to Burundi to work on building health clinics. It is a book full of despair that still manages to leave you with some hope at the end.
Officially, the screenplay for Lincoln is adapted from this very popular work. While it does not deal very much with the battle to adopt the 13th Amendment, you can learn about how Lincoln dealt with his contentious Cabinet. Lincoln needed a strong group to help him through the crisis that awaited him.
A recently released prisoner winds up on an ill-fated revenge quest in this stream of consciousness novel by Egyptian Nobel Winner Mahfouz.
This book is the prototype of the western genre. It paints a picture of Wyoming in the age of the cattle rancher and establishes a particularly American mythos.
Shattered at age 26 by her mother's death and the end of her marriage, Strayed did something way out of the realm of her experience--she took a solo 1,100-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Kingston uses folk tales, myth and the dimly remembered events of her life to tell a story of girlhood, and to reflect on what being a girl means in Chinese culture and, obliquely, in American culture.